Mothering and nurturing myself; discovering self-love and kindness

Written by Amie on November 1, 2013 – 1:45 am -

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”~Buddha

Why is it that it is so much easier to be kind to others when they are suffering, but that kindness does not come as easily when we are the ones suffering? I am getting better at this. I was going through a very intense emotional experience last week. I discovered the most helpful way through it was to mother and nurture myself as I felt my emotions and experienced my body sensations. I felt nurturing kindness for myself. Many years ago, I would not have done this. Instead I would have tried to avoid feeling my emotions, while at the same time berating myself for getting so upset. I would have *known* there was something wrong with me. When I think about how unkind I was to myself, I feel sad. I feel so grateful that my self compassion has grown, and my response is now self-love and kindness. It was the most wonderful feeling. I truly felt loved, and I *knew* I was not alone, even though physically I was alone.

It was painful emotionally

I want to share my process with you because I want you to know that it is very possible to be alone and not feel lonely. It is possible to be alone with your grief but yet feel nurtured and mothered and loved. I want to share this with you because I want to spread the joy of discovering that when we allow ourselves to truly *feel*, without going into the story, or the drama, or the details, it really is possible to move through the emotions, to truly get through them to the other side. And on the other side of them is an incredible feeling of peace.I felt so peaceful in fact, that I asked myself if that was truly possible. And since I am a doubter at heart, I even questioned if I was just in denial. So far, I don’t think I am in denial, but I suppose time will tell. I want to clarify that I went through days of crying and feeling and moments I had to remind myself to breathe. I don’t want this to sound as though it was a party and a celebration, it wasn’t. It was painful emotionally. But I truly suffered if I allowed myself to get caught in listening to the story that tried to play out in my mind.When I listen to the story, I am distracted from my emotions and my bodily sensations. When I get distracted, the emotions get caught in my body, which means they will come back in other situations until I fully allow them to flow and be felt.

Anger is a “catch all” for emotions

Becoming aware of emotions is the starting point. It took me years to really *get this*. I thought “feeling my emotions” meant telling the story of what happened, becoming angry and often blaming someone, and usually staying in the anger without feeling what was under the anger. Anger is a sign that something is off, but it isn’t the actual emotion. It covers up the true emotions, the ones we might be afraid to feel. For example, we might be feeling grief or disappointment, sadness or loneliness, etc. Anger is a “catch all” for emotions. It feels powerful because it is a warning sign to us. But all too often, we stay in anger rather than dig beneath it. Often times, the anger is aimed at ourselves. We may shame ourselves by telling ourselves how stupid we were to not “see” what someone was doing to us, we may beat ourselves up with words. All of these things distract us from feeling our truth in the moment. In order to really feel emotions, we must stay present with our body sensations and our breath.

What am I feeling in my body?

I noticed that when I was crying and feeling sick in my stomach, I also felt a strong pain in my neck going down to my shoulder. I have had this in the past, and I did finally link it to old emotional pain that has been stuck there for a very long time. Once I became aware of this, I was able to talk to the pain, talk to myself. I was able to “mother” myself and nurture myself. I told my pain, “its ok, I have you, you are safe. Let it out, release this hurt now, you are safe.” I held my hand gently on my neck where the pain was, and I kept saying over and over, “you are safe, its okay to let go of this now.” I reminded myself to breathe, this is very important. It was incredible observing what happened. The pain would subside, and I would have some relief. I would cry more. The pain would return, and I would repeat the same process until it mostly went away. I knew instinctively that it was grief I was dealing with. Grief for many emotions that had been stuck in my body. Years of emotions, as well as past traumas being held in my body. Speaking kindly to myself was like talking to a scared child, reassuring her that it is safe to feel now. I was taking care of that little girl so that she was finally able to let go of the past that was holding her in fear.

“mothering” voice made me feel safe

I realize this process is not easy, especially when you might be accustomed to berating and being unkind to yourself like I used to be. But please give this a try. It feels so much better than the judgmental, mean, conditioned voice I had in the past. This loving, kind, gentle, “mothering” voice made me feel safe. I felt safe enough to let go of things that were holding me back. I felt completely nurtured and held in the arms of a divine loving energy, which is also myself.

 

 

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Healing & personal growth, healing from depression, Help with depression, Nurture yourself, Self-love | 2 Comments »

Depression,loneliness,authenticity,and vulnerability

Written by Amie on February 19, 2012 – 3:53 pm -

naming the feeling of loneliness

I received an e-mail yesterday from someone asking me about loneliness. She told me she feels lonely even when she is surrounded by people who care about her. I told her I can totally relate to the feeling, and I also told her what a gift it is that she recognizes this part of herself. I remember so many times that I felt this way. It took me a very long time to figure out what was really behind the feeling of loneliness. Honestly, I didn’t know it was loneliness I was feeling. I knew the feeling felt really big inside me, but I wasn’t sure how to name it. At that time in my life, I had the habit of turning these feelings against myself. In other words, I had this big feeling inside me that I bundled all together with all of the “bad” feelings I was having, and called it depression.  I would tell myself there must be something *wrong with me* for feeling bad even when I had people in my life who loved me. How could I be around people who say they care about me and still feel depressed? The answer eluded me for quite awhile. Maybe the real situation was that I didn’t want to acknowledge my truth. If I were to actually name this feeling I was having (loneliness), I believed I would then have to act on it right away.  That isn’t true. The first step is always to acknowledge the feeling, and then allow yourself to feel it. Once you allow yourself to feel your emotions, a part of you will open up to new possibilities, and action will follow if that is what needs to happen.

I was dying inside, I felt so empty

It took me awhile to figure out, or acknowledge that I truly was feeling lonely. It also took me awhile to see the patterns I had set up in my life to support this loneliness. I am not being judgmental here, just stating what is true. Somewhere along the path in my life I learned that I needed to protect my sensitive spirit from people who had the potential to hurt me. When our true selves are not nurtured and supported starting from a young age, we learn other ways to be in the world as a way of protecting ourselves. I thought if I could keep myself from being vulnerable with another person, I was protecting  myself. I only allowed myself to go to a certain level of connection with people, and then I would put up my walls of protection. Nobody could get past those walls. It appeared as though I was sharing myself with others, but I wasn’t. Not by a long shot. I appeared strong and I appeared as though I had it all together. But I didn’t. I was dying inside. I felt so empty.

it has taken me almost 6 years to get to where I am today

With the help of a therapist, I finally came to see how lonely I was really feeling. I found a therapist who (after going through many therapists that I could never open up to) I felt safe with. It took awhile, but she was finally able to help me make a crack in my wall of protection. It was a slow, often painful process. My mind was like a steel trap. It did not want to budge. It has taken me almost 6 years to get to where I am today. That seems like a long time when there are promises out there telling us you can pop a pill to get relief without having to do the work of looking inside yourself. (I am not saying medication should never be taken, I tried that route myself) However, to put things into perspective, I remind myself that it took me much longer than 6 years to get to the breaking point of depression, so I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. I had to rediscover the authentic person behind the wall of protection, and that takes work.

most people feel lonely because it is not “small talk” they are really wanting and needing

And…back to the issue of loneliness….I can see now that people who have a wall up around them are most likely feeling lonely most of the time. Most people feel lonely because it is not “small talk” they are really wanting and needing. Most of us settle for this because it is the norm. But on a deeper level, we want to feel connected to each other, we want to know what is really alive in the person we are talking with. We want to feel authenticity with each other. It is so sad that most people have been trained to ignore the real stuff, and go straight to the small talk. My first real connection with someone was my therapist. I know that may sound weird, but I don’t care! lol She was coming from a conscious healthy place, and I felt it.  I felt her authenticity, and I wanted more. From there I met a wonderful friend (at a book store!) who is so authentic with me. At first, it was scary because I didn’t trust that she could be real. I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t hurt me. But I hung in there, and I now call her my soul sister. I am also a part of a women’s spiritual growth group with like minded conscious women who are also seeking authenticity and truth. Another person who I relate to on a soul level is a friend I met years ago at a health food store! She is someone that I know connects with me at a very deep and authentic level.

the more I love myself, the more I bring people into my life that will mirror that love back to me

I feel so grateful for all of the people in my life right now who are real with me. I notice that the more I love myself, the more I bring people into my life that will mirror that love back to me. My kids have done this for me since the day they were born. Talk about authentic! To this day, they call me out on my old patterns. So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that if you are feeling depressed, ask yourself if you are lonely. Be as honest as you can be with yourself. Just admitting it but not putting pressure on yourself to do anything about it will help. Just allow yourself to feel the truth of what is there in your body. I would say to myself, “I am feeling really lonely right now”. Then I would tune in to what my body was feeling in that moment. Tightness in my stomach, almost always. Just stay with the feelings in your body. You don’t have to solve anything….just feel…..

 it’s time to fall in love..with yourself

The more you allow yourself to feel what is true for you, the more you will begin to crack open your wall of protection. What I am also saying here is that if you don’t have at least one person in your life you can be 100% real with, it is time to find one. Finding one will lead to finding another. I promise you there are people out there wanting the same thing you do. Authenticity. Vulnerability is a part of the process. People who are willing to be vulnerable, willing to show their human side, will attract others who want the same thing. People are lonely because they are guarded. We shut down our truth; our human side. The act of pretending to be happy, the act of going through the motions of being human, doesn’t cut it for very long. Many people are okay with living their lives like this. I am not one of those people anymore. If I would have continued down the pretending path for much longer, I most likely wouldn’t be here today. That is the truth. I need to be real, I need to be who I was born to be, I need people in my life who are willing to be real with me. I refuse to pretend. One more thing….actually a very important point…..once you start truly loving yourself unconditionally, you won’t feel lonely anymore. When you love yourself, you will stop looking for someone else to make you feel any certain way. Nobody can ever make you feel unconditional love for yourself. You need your love in order to be happy. You can start loving yourself right this minute by asking yourself what you honestly need right now. Being honest about it will start your path to self-love. We all crave authenticity and love and deep connection….so you really can’t truly feel these things unless you are madly in love with yourself!!! So, maybe it’s time to fall in love..with yourself! xo

And in the spirit of love….I have to put this song in here yet again…I just love it so much! 🙂

 

 

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